Capabilities Text to speech. Additional information Publisher Thomas Nelson. Seller name Thomas Nelson. Content protection This content is DRM protected. Additional terms Terms of transaction. Ratings and reviews No one's rated or reviewed this product yet. To rate and review, sign in. Your review will post soon. There was an error posting your review. Please try again later. So God withheld rain, and they soon learned that they were not the source of their own success. There are parallels here in the economic crisis of — and its relationship to compensation, honesty in lending and borrowing, and the rush to make a quick profit at the cost of putting others at risk.
Yet there is a connection — complex though it is — between the economic well being of people and nations and their spiritual lives and values. Economic well being is a moral issue. God calls people to a higher purpose than economic self-interest. Our highest end is our relationship with God, within which provision and material well-being are important, but limited, matters.
I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the first fruits of his harvest Jer. First he asked the poor, but they are found to be hardened Jer. This community has lost every norm by which to evaluate and assess its rapacious and exploitative greed. Whether done by the rich the king, Jer.
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This is above and beyond the accusations he made against breaking specific elements of the Law, such as stealing, murder, adultery, swearing falsely, and worshiping false gods Jer. Whether an action contributes to the common good is just as important as the whether the action is legal.
For example, most companies are part of a supply chain leading from raw materials to parts to assemblies to finished goods to the distribution system to consumers. It may be possible for one player in the chain to gain power over the others, squeeze their margins, and capture all the profits. But even if this is done by legal means, is it good for the industry and the community?
Is it even sustainable over the long term? Or it may be legal for a union to preserve benefits for current workers by negotiating away benefits for new workers. These are complex issues, and there is no rigid answer to be found in Jeremiah. They followed the regulations of Law, but not its spirit.
Like the people of Judah, we all have chances either to hoard or to share the benefits we receive from our jobs. Some companies concentrate bonuses and stock options in the hands of senior executives. Others distribute them broadly among all workers. Some people try to take full credit for every accomplishment they had a hand in. Others give credit to co-workers as liberally as possible. Again, there are complex considerations involved, and we should avoid making snap judgments of others.
But we could ask ourselves a simple question. Does the way I handle money, power, recognition and the other rewards of my job benefit primarily me, or does it contribute to the good of my colleagues, my organization and my society? Likewise, organizations may lean either towards greed or towards the common good. If a business exploits monopoly power to extract high prices or uses deception to sell its products, then it is acting on greed for money. If a government exercises power to promote the interests of itself over its neighbors or of its leaders over its citizens, then it is acting on greed for power.
Jeremiah takes a broad understanding of the common good and its opposite, greed. Greed is not restricted to gains that violate some particular law. Instead, it includes any kind of gain that ignores the needs and circumstances of others. According to Jeremiah, no one in his day was free of such greed. Is it any different today? When we follow the same ethical precepts at home, at work, at church and in the community, we have integrity. When we follow different ethical precepts in different spheres of life, we lack integrity.
Jeremiah complains about the lack of integrity he sees in the people of Judah. Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? You know, I too am watching, says the Lord. Jeremiah is calling them to lives of integrity. Otherwise their piety means nothing to God. Our hearts are not right with God just because we go to the temple.
Our relationship with him is reflected in our actions, in what we do every day, including what we do at work. Walter Brueggemann, A Commentary on Jeremiah: Eerdmans, , The minority did not favor using the term because it does not appear in any English translation of Jeremiah, nor is there any Hebrew term in Jeremiah that roughly corresponds to it. Moreover, the term has acquired a specialized meaning in certain schools of philosophy, theology and politics that goes far beyond any plain-English meaning that might pertain in Jeremiah.
Using the term can give the erroneous impression that such philosophical-theological-political schools of thought are taught, per se, by Jeremiah. In accordance with the majority opinion, we have used the term in this article. However, we do not mean to take a particular political position or to read post-Jeremiah philosophy or theology into the text of Jeremiah.
In contrast to some of the other prophets e. If the people did not acknowledge God as the ultimate source of the good things they already had, how much less would they have faith to depend on God to provide for them in the future?
Jeremiah & Lamentations and Work | Bible Commentary | Theology of Work
John Cotton, the Puritan theologian, says that faith needs to underlie everything we do in life, including our work or vocation:. A true believing Christian…lives in his vocation by his faith. Not only my spiritual life but even my civil life in this world, and all the life I live, is by the faith of the Son of God: He exempts no life from the agency of his faith. The laws of God are aimed at our own good and are given to keep us focused on our proper purpose. We think we know better than God how to get the things we want. So we work according to our ways, not his.
But our ways do not yield us the good things God intends to give us. As we experience this lack, we engage in increasingly desperate acts of self-interest. We cut corners, we oppress others and we hoard what little we have. Now we are not only failing to receive what God wants to give us, we are also failing to produce anything of value for ourselves or others.
If others in the community or the nation act the same, we are soon fighting one another in pursuit of less-and-less satisfying products of our labor. We have become the opposite of who we are designed to be as the people of God. The theme of the people abandoning God, losing faith in his provision, and oppressing each other in consequence is repeated at intervals through chapters 8 to As a consequence, they try to make up the loss by cheating one another. Oppression upon oppression, deceit upon deceit! Quoted in Leland Ryken, Worldly Saints: Zondervan, , Doubleday, , b.
But the extrinsic principle moving to good is God, who both instructs us by means of His law, and assists us by His grace…. Now the first principle in practical matters…is the last end: Jeremiah also turned his attention to the rhythm of work and rest. On the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. For six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the sabbath, or do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors.
Earlier in chapter 17 , God, speaking through Jeremiah, said: They shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when relief comes. They shall live in the parched places in the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. By depending on ourselves instead of being faithful to God, we come to believe that we cannot afford to take time to rest.
There is too much work to do if we are to succeed in our careers, in our households and in our pastimes, so we break the Sabbath to get it done. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters…multiply there and do not decrease.
Thru the Bible Vol. 24: The Prophets (Jeremiah/Lamentations)
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare, you will find your welfare. And it is a part of the Covenant to which Jeremiah keeps calling Judah. Babylon would fall, Jerusalem would be saved, and the people would soon return home.
Though we may have little opportunity to impact major structures of our society, we can touch our neighbors and colleagues. We can work for justice in our spheres of influence. We can seek to be people of shalom in our relationships at work, at school, at home, and in the community. God called the people to work the land there diligently: This call to civic responsibility twenty-six hundred years ago is valid today.
We are called to work toward the prosperity of the entire community, not merely for our own limited interests.
We may even be suffering for our faithlessness and corruption. Nonetheless we are called and equipped to be a blessing to the communities in which we live and work. God called his people to use their various job skills to serve the surrounding community. He simply knows that as captives, the Israelites cannot prosper unless their captors do too. But as we have seen, caring for those beyond the people of God is an inherent element of the Covenant, and it appears in the earlier teaching of Jeremiah. House builders, gardeners, farmers and workers of all kinds were explicitly called to work for the good of the whole society in Jeremiah But only if they depend on God; hence the admonition to prayer in Jer.
In light of Jeremiah 29 , it is difficult to read 1 Corinthians and the other gifts passages in the New Testament as applying only to the church or to Christians. God calls and equips his people to serve the whole world. Note that this often-quoted verse is about a people in exile because of their sin; the future and hope promised will not come until the seventy years of exile have purged the survivors of the sin that took them there.
It is only at the end of the seventy years that the people will be ready to seek God: We can be a blessing wherever we are because God is with us wherever we are. It is hard for us today to understand how shocking this would be to the exiles, who had thought up until then that God was fully present only in the temple in Jerusalem. The feeling of exile is familiar to many working Christians. But God is present nonetheless, always looking to reveal himself to those who will recognize him there.
Settle into the land: God is there with you. Even today many Christians cannot imagine that God is both near and far. As finite human beings limited to time and space, we think of God in terms of distance from us. It is difficult for many to believe that God is really near. This brings us to an expanded notion of the common good. Pray for Babylon because Israel is intended to be a blessing for all humanity, not just for herself: Now in the moment of utter defeat comes the time they are called upon to bless even their enemies.
This blessing includes material prosperity, as Jer. How ironic that in chapters , God withheld his peace and prosperity from Judah because of their faithlessness; yet by chapter 29 , God wanted to bless Babylon with peace and prosperity even though the Babylonians had no faith in the God of Judah. This immediately calls into doubt any scheme designed for the special benefit of Christians. As part of our witness, Christians are called to compete effectively in the marketplace.
We cannot run subpar businesses, expecting God to bless us while we underperform. Christians need to compete with excellence on a level playing field if we are to bless the world. Any trade organization, preferred supplier relationship, hiring preference, tax or regulatory advantage, or other system designed to benefit only Christians is not blessing the city.
During the Irish famines in the mids, many Anglican churches provided food only to those who would convert from Roman Catholicism to Protestantism. The ill will this created still reverberates years later, and this was merely the self-dealing of one Christian sect against another. Imagine the much greater damage caused by Christians discriminating against non-Christians, which fills the pages of history from antiquity to this day.
This is perhaps the most profound economic principle in Jeremiah, that working for the good of others is the only reliable way to work for your own good. Successful business leaders understand that product development, marketing, sales and customer support are effective when they put the customer first.
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Here, surely, is a best practice that can be recognized by all working people, whether Christ-followers or not. He described it in terms of the joy of work without the defilement of sin:. Again I will build you and you shall be built, O virgin Israel. Again you will plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit.
For there shall be a day when sentinels will call in the hill country of Ephraim: In the restored world, the people would still work, but while in the past their work led to futility, now they would enjoy the fruit. The restored people would have lives of work, enjoyment, feasting and worship all tied into one. The picture of planting, harvesting, playing music, dancing and enjoying the harvest depicts the pleasure of work in faithfulness to God. Faithfulness to God is not a side issue, but the heart of enjoying work and the things produced by work. The days are surely coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors, when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt — a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. In one stroke we see a restored world: But we can gain glimpses of this reality now. All the while Jeremiah begged people not to listen to lying prophecies Jer.
Contrast it with Jer. This oracle is tied to the cultic celebration and worship of God Jer. For the false approach to worship, see esp. One of the final new commands from God in Jeremiah is the renunciation of slavery Jer. The Law of Moses required Hebrew slaves to be set free after six years of service Exodus Adults could sell themselves, and parents could sell their children, into servitude for six years.
After that they must be released Leviticus In theory, it was a more humane system than the serfdom or chattel slavery known in the modern era. But it was abused by masters who simply ignored the requirement to set slaves free at the end of the term, or who continually re-enrolled slaves into a lifetime of consecutive six-year terms Jer. In other words, it was the abolition of slavery, at least with respect to Jews having Jewish slaves. It is not clear whether this was meant to be a permanent abolition, or whether it was a response to the extreme circumstances of impending military defeat and exile.
In any case, it was not enforced for long, and the masters soon re-enslaved their former slaves.